Engine cooling and HVAC system supplier Behr is expanding its North American headquarters in Troy, Michigan, writes Mark Wilkinson.

The company is adding a 10,000 sq-ft office facility to house North American human resources, purchasing and accounting operations to cater for mushrooming interest in North America. This joins Behr’s award-winning ‘Best of Troy’ $US34 million technical centre that itself already covers 80,000 sq ft.

“The expansion of our Detroit-area headquarters and technical centre reflects the rapid growth of our business activities in North America,” said Behr America president Hans Lange.

Behr US sales recently nearly tripled from $230 million in 2001 to $684 million in 2002 following the company’s acquisition of DaimlerChrysler’s Ohio-based Dayton Thermal Products operations.

Behr will also open a $15 million climatic wind tunnel in Troy in spring 2004. This follows the design of the company’s Stuttgart tunnel (opened in 2000) and was shown to journalists on a press tour hosted by the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (WRS) this week.

The Troy tunnel improves on the German model by increasing air speeds for testing cars and trucks to 200km/h and 120km/h, respectively (Stuttgart manages 130km/h and 80km/h). This gives it the ability to test heating and cooling systems on all classes of light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles.